I'm 39, married 14 years and love my wife. A year ago, she started drinking to the point of scaring our school-age children. She'll go out with friends until very late, not remember everything, and becomes aggressive. I'm afraid of the impact this'll have on the kids.
Also, we once had an open, fun sex life, involving other people and that was okay until we met some men who could keep going for hours, which my wife really liked. We stopped seeing them.
Then I discovered her online message to a secret 'friend' - that she'd had sex behind my back and was ready to do it again. I got upset and made a big mistake, I hit her.
Then I found another msn message between my wife and one of the guys we'd been with, suggesting he meet her at a dance place. I went there, lost it and hit her again.
She admitted she'd been in a 'bubble' and wanted me to help her delete all our 'friends.' We were able to enjoy sex together again, but she no longer touches me, and she satisfies herself. She also wants me to keep on going beyond 20 minutes, which is a problem.
I don't respect her as much. She has a university degree, yet refuses to get a job though she has time to do so. And she won't see a therapist with me.
She says, 'everything is okay.' But how come we fight so often? And cannot have great sex together anymore?
Your wife's become an alcoholic, which affects all other aspects of your life together. And you're increasingly violent in response.
Until she confronts and deals with her addiction, it'll foment other problems. What she wants from sex may also be its own addiction distracting herself from one type of self-numbing, through another, no matter the consequences.
A job could help her regain self-esteem, but you cannot force her or deal with alcohol, sex, fighting, etc. all at once.
Even if she won't go to therapy, you must. You need to be strong and control your anger, for everyone's sake. Also, join Al-Anon for support and strategies from others who live with alcoholics.
I've left a 23-year marriage after 10 years of unhappiness due to my husband's anxiety and depression. He's kind and gentle, but grumpy and miserable, seeing everything as hopeless.
I tried to get him to look after his condition. Instead, I now must financially and emotionally re-start my life with two kids, no money and minimal education.
My kids will end up responsible for him as it's his survival mechanism to get people to feel sorry for him. I wish I'd left 10 years ago he might've stepped up to look after himself.
Now, he's shaken; it's affected our kids and made things even harder because we're older, starting over and so much of my life was miserable.
He was supposed to be my partner. Yet it became a parent/child dysfunctional relationship, not good for anyone.
- Starting Over
It's never too late for new beginnings, especially when you're wiser and more determined to make a positive, emotionally healthy life for yourself. Don't fall into the trap of second-guessing yourself, or allowing fear and negativity to invade this important transition period.
As for your children's potential 'guilt' about their father, community social service agencies and/or school counselling departments may offer the counselling that would help them understand that caring about him doesn't mean carrying his burdens for him.
My husband of 15 years, always a good provider, lost his job. Now he just watches TV or plays video games. He'd developed a weight problem before this, started and stopped innumerable diet plans.
I've urged him to find another job, but he only goes out to get candy and fast food. A divorce seems too costly and I have children to think about. What should I do to get him into the workforce, and make him stick to losing weight?
- Desperate Housewife
Tell him where you stand: The kids and you need a husband/father, not a deadbeat boarder. Acknowledge that he's depressed about losing his job, and that it takes time and effort to find a new one. But together, you can research how to upgrade his resume and possibly some skills.
Getting out walking together will also kick-start the energy he needs to get started.
Tip of the day:
Professional help and support groups can greatly benefit families involved with alcoholism.